Earlier this week, NHS North West London made the decision to close four Accident and Emergency Departments in North West London, one of which is Central Middlesex Hospital. The decision follows on from the Shaping a Healthier Future consultation which ran from June to October last year.
Dr Mark Spencer had already stated at the Council’s scrutiny committee that he could only envisage movement away from their ‘preferred’ option if a major gap had been identified – LINK – I am still dismayed that no option was given through the consultation to have a fully invested Accident and Emergency service at Central Middlesex hospital. This area represents some of the poorest people in the Borough and sends the wrong message to people.
Proposals will see A&E departments at Charing Cross, Central Middlesex, Hammersmith and Ealing hospitals close. The proposals will leave Brent with one A&E department at Northwick Park hospital, which we are told will receive investment for extra capacity. An urgent care centre will be at all four hospital sites where A&Es are closing and these will be open 24/7. However, these Urgent Care Centres will not be able to treat more serious and life threatening conditions.
Furthermore, there are issues with the performance of the current urgent care provider at Central Middlesex Hospital as I have blogged last year – LINK
The decision has been based on the success of an out of hospital strategy. It is vital that there are no closures of A&Es until this strategy is proven to be working. Given the scale of the project, there are serious capacity concerns. Also, without wholesale integration of health and social care, these proposals will not work as is being set out by NHS North West London and disproportionate cuts by the Government to Councils, who provide social care, are making things more difficult.
Plans will be further scrutinised and discussed by Brent Councillors on the Health Partnerships Overview and Scrutiny Committee which next meets on March 19th at Brent Town Hall. Residents are welcome to come and observe.